Who Goes to Heaven? Do Good People Go to Heaven?

by Jack Wellman on April 28, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

A surprising fact is that most people believe they are good enough to go to heaven.  Why?  Because they feel that they are a “good person.”  Do only good people go to heaven?  Who really goes to heaven?  How can a person know with certainty that they will go to heaven.  Are there “good people” who think they are going to heaven but in reality will not be going?

Highway to Heaven?

According to a recent news poll from a major news organization, 85% of people who believe in heaven but are not necessarily Christian believe that they will go to heaven.  Even more surprising is the fact that 77% of people who claim no religious affiliation feel that they are good enough to go to heaven because they feel they are a “good person.”  If this is true, there is a broad 6-lane interstate highway to heaven and there be many who will find it.  But what does the Bible say about who goes to heaven?  Is there a broad path to heaven?  Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:13, Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Two key elements Jesus spoke of here are that the gate that leads to destruction is broad and not narrow and that many enter through it.  This statement by Jesus seems to contradict what most people believe.  Jesus said that instead of a broad path or highway to heaven, there is a narrow gate and in fact small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matt 7:14).  This is in direct opposition to what most people think.  The way to eternal life is narrow, the gate is small and most importantly, only a few find it  — not many as most people think!    This is not good news for those who feel that they are a good person or good enough to go to heaven.

Isaiah 35:8 confirms the fact that there will be a highway as the prophet says, a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.”  This highway is called the Way of Holiness.  That doesn’t sound like a highway for “good persons” but for holy persons and the wicked will not be traveling it.  Jesus warns everyone to Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to (Luke 13:24).  Here the way to enter is called a door and the doorway in narrow, not broad.  Jesus even says that many will try to enter it and “will not be able to.”  What is even more frightening is Jesus saying that many will come to Him expecting to go to heaven but He says, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”(Matt 7:22-23).  How tragic that will be.  Many will come to Him calling Him Lord but He who is your Lord is the one whom you obey.  If Jesus says, I never knew you this means that He really didn’t know them and they didn’t know Him.  They were not in His Word (the Bible), in His Body (the Church), in fellowship with Him (in prayer), and in relationship with Him (saved by His blood).

Do Good People Go To Heaven

People who think they are a good enough of a person to go to heaven might want to ask this but one thing that Jesus points out that “No one is good except God alone.”

Do Good People Go to Heaven?

Of the many doors that I knock on to share the gospel with the community, most people believe that they are a good person and expect to go to heaven.  I did an informal poll one Saturday as I was doing outreach in the city where our church is located and ask people, “Do you think you will go to heaven?”  Around 3 out of every 4 thought that they would go to heaven.  I asked them why they thought that.  Their response was almost universal:  “I’m a good person.”  When I ask young students at the college campus one Saturday “Do you consider yourself a good person?” about 9 out of every 10 said yes.  Of those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ — they are not born-again believers — most people still think they will go to heaven.  It seems that most people think that they have done enough good things to go there.  They confess they are not perfect but they feel that they have done more good things in their lives than bad and so they think that God being a God of love would not send them to hell.  My thought was “is something missing?”  Jesus Christ!  The Bible says that Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Who is Really Good?

No human is really good.  Only God is good.  Listen to what the young rich ruler said when He ran up to Jesus to ask Him how he might inherit eternal life.  This is the account from Mark 10:17-22, As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

This young rich man asked a great question when he asked how do I inherit eternal life.  People who think they are a good enough person to go to heaven might want to ask this but one thing that Jesus points out is that “No one is good except God alone.”  The young rich man apparently thought he was a good person and since he kept the commandments, he felt he was good enough to go to inherit eternal life. What does Jesus tell him?  That he still lacks something.  That he needs to sell everything he has and give it to the poor.  Jesus, knowing the young man’s heart, must have realized that riches were his god because when Jesus told him to give it all away, the man’s face fell…and he went away sad because he was rich; so much for trying to inherit eternal life by keeping the commandments.  That didn’t work for this man nor will it for any of us.  Besides, this man coveted his wealth and made it his god, thereby breaking the 1st and 10th Commandments.  Jesus is not saying that we need to give everything away to the poor but He knew that the man was making a god of his money and coveting it.

None Are Good Enough

No human can inherit eternal life by doing good things, being a good person, or trying to keep the commandments.  The Psalmist writes, “Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 53:3).  Paul testifies that “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one (Rom 3:23).  All means every single human being who has ever or will ever live on this earth, in fact, Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies (Psalm 53:3).  Matthew 15:19 agrees by saying, For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”  Mark writes, 7:21-23: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” All these evil things come from within and defile a man (Mark 7:21-23).

Just as Jeremiah described The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings (Jer 17:9-10).  Again, Paul reiterates the state of humanity, As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one (Rom 3:10-12).

More Than Good Enough, But Holy

There is no other way to heaven except through Jesus Christ and His righteousness that is imputed to us.  Only the holy will go to heaven so just being a good person will never be enough to inherit eternal life. How can a sinner be made holy?  Doesn’t this seem impossible?  The writer of Hebrews gives us good news by saying that, “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10).  John writes, For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified (John 17:19). Thank God for there is hope for us because Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers (Heb 2:11).  Ephesians 5:25-27 makes a fitting conclusion to how believers are made holy, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

Being good enough is not enough…only good enough to send people to hell. To go to heaven and receive eternal life we must be holy, perfect, and blameless and have no stain, blemish or wrinkle.   How is this possible?  With humans it is impossible but with Christ it is absolutely possible.  Christians are already made holy by Jesus Christ’s atoning work on Calvary.  Won’t you place your faith and trust in the only One Who can make you holy and wholly acceptable to God and put you on the Way to Holiness?  That is the only way to inherit eternal life and there is no other.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack April 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Let me add one thing. The people that I witness to that are not saved and ask if they are a good person is well over 90% and these people think, falsely, that they should go to heaven but our works are like filthy rags to God. The only good thing about believers is the righteousness imputed on our behalf because and only because of Christ’s righteousness and God sees us as having His righteousness. Anyone can say they are a Christian but just being in a garage doesn’t make me a car, so too just telling others you are a believer doesn’t make it so. Time will tell…are there fruits?

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Henry April 29, 2012 at 11:22 am

Excellent work Jack, i really appreciate it, Praise be to God.

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Jack April 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Thank you so much sir. I appreciate and yes, all praise be to God. I thank God for your encouraging comment. Please come back to see us again soon I pray.

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Melody Rose Biñan May 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I just found this site and I was very blessed. Thankyou sir f0r such encouragement and f0r sharing your kn0wledge 0f the bible. G0d is perfect. T0 him be all the gl0ry. He deserves all the praises!!

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Jack May 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Melody. What a wonderfully encouraging comment you have left. As a witnessing going door to door, in the stores, malls, on the street, the “Good person” test works well in pointing people to their need for a Savior. Please come back again soon and thank you and I thank God for you Melody.

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Melody Rose Biñan May 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I will keep 0n reading and will definetely share this am0ng my friends and family. I am a born-again christian and I am learning a l0t, this helped me dig deeper in t0 G0d’s words.. :) *smiles*

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Samantha Fowler May 3, 2012 at 3:00 am

It is interesting. This whole concept is truly facinating. The ideas given to man in this way is facinating. I get that only holy people can go to heaven. Which means all of the other good people who are not holy will be in hell with me. With that, do you think you will go to heaven Jack? And why do you think so? And who really enters heaven? If that is such a small door to heaven, then most of people’s loved ones would be in hell. If they were in hell, wouldn’t most want to follow them? Even if they are punished for eternity wouldn’t you want to be with the ones you love? Good article. Covers a lot of things but shows people that very few will get into heaven. An interesting point.

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Jack May 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thank you Samantha for your comment and questions. Yes, good people are not good enough to go to heaven. Only holy people go but of myself I am most unworthy so I have no chance of going to heaven…except for One Man Who is also God: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21) and “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10). So my and anyone’s hope is only thru placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, not in me by my own pathetic efforts of trying to be a good person. That is who enters heaven…only those who trust Jesus Christ to save them and His holiness because just as “Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Galatians 3:6). No one can follow Jesus after they are in hell and that is why it is so very critically important for us to tell others because if anyone dies apart from Christ they will not get a 2nd chance in hell. I pray you will go there my friend…and that is the true purpose of this website and this article.

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Melody May 3, 2012 at 9:29 pm

NIce point. I can really relate to Samantha’s point of view and questions. I used to ask those questions before. What about my family? I rather go to hell with my family. Things like those. I know nothing about God’s love, all I know is I’m not that bad to go to hell, so probably i’ll go to heaven coz God is a loving God. But I always feel an empty space in my heart. Until God made a miracle in my life. 6.9 intensity earthquake hit Philippines and I panicked that I found myself running, carrying my baby to an uphill location in our place with people ,chldren, running too. There was a tsunami alert level 3 reported on tv, and not knowing about the level types of tsunami, all people ran to mountains to save their lives afraid of what had happened in Japan. I reached the top of the hill for like 10 minutes,breathless. How I reached it that quick? I dont know. Adrenaline rush maybe. I looked down and I saw hundreds of peole running for their lives with their kids and all. I saw no tsunami, the seas are calm. My feet are wounded, with bruises. Then I looked at my 6 mos baby, he was giggling at me. God, this is the most wonderful,most beautiful creature ever!I promised myself I will never lose this boy, I LOVE HIM SO SO MUCH!That night, I was still crying and nervous and worried. What if there will be a tsunami while we’re asleep? I looked at my baby sleeping, as his chest rises and falls, tears fell down. I realized God loves me like I love my baby. 10x or 100x maybe. My baby’s life i important and I cant afford to lose it. Just like God, I was a lost sheep bef0re, and he found me. I am a born-again christian now. Im at the happiest, most complete and most contented stage of my life. God loves us like his real children. “You may not know me, but I know everything about you”-Psalm 139:1, I have always been Father, and will always be Father – Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is – Will you be my child? – John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you – Luke 15:11-32..

So let me just say the truth we cannot save ourselves alone. SALVATION is G0d’s grace and mercy. There are a lot of people who claim that they are good enough to go to heaven, but only G0d can see their hearts. “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.”- Matthew5:8. Our hearts are our tickets to heaven. Our life on earth is all about JESUS. NOthing else. He sees those hearts that are dedicated for him. Only our faith can save us. I pray that those people you witness Jack will seek JESUS in their hearts, so they may have faith. ” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.(bible)–Romans 10:17. Just as God promise “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.- John14:13. That’s a very powerful promise. We have to BELIEVE like a 2yr-old baby doesnt lie, and TRUST like our Moms will always care for us…God’s love for us is very, very big! To him all be the Glory and Praise him the greatest of everything! :)

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Jack May 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Melody, that is a superb example of the 2 year old trusting her mom. That is the type of child-like faith that God is wanting and no wonder Jesus said unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Our faith is only as strong as the Object of our faith and that is Jesus! Thank you Melody. Great observations and Scriptures too! You’re good.

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Melody May 8, 2012 at 3:05 am

Right. Thanks!Praise God, it is God whose working within.. :) All for his glory!!

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Claire March 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Faith in Jesus really means loving, so even if you don’t believe some certain fact about Jesus if you’re loving God will “save you”. It’s true that we can’t force God to, even if Adam never sinned but God just decided to be mean, that’s what the bible says by grace, but we have to love & want forgiveness, for a good explanation of this goto ASK: how can a good God send to hell? On journey Christian church’s site.

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Jane Dowden July 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

I guess the “In Thing” is for preachers to only preach the good things of God. No negatives. They are preaching that we only have to be good people to get to heaven because God is a loving God and doesn’t want anyone to go go hell. They are leading many people astray only preaching positive things and making the Christian people look like fools because we still believe the Bible is one word of God and is not all cream and sugur. Not every good person will to to Heaven. We have to have something small but very difficult for people and that is:Faith. I am so humbled that God sent his Son to die and to be raised from the dead for a sinner such as me. So easy but so hard for people to accept.

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Jack Wellman July 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thank you Jane for your comment. Do you believe that I am leading the lost astray? Did you read the entire article? I am not saying in anywhere in the article that good people go to heaven…just the converse, many people who I knock on door to door, in the park, thrift store, nursing home, restaurant, in the streets, in the store….all of the places that I share the gospel with people I ask them do you think good people go to heaven? The vast majority of people are deceived and believer they will. This article is a wake up call for those who believe this. They will be in for a rude and most terrible awakening when Jesus tells them, “Depart from me for I never knew you” (Math 7:23). I included Psalm 53:3, Rom 6:23, Mark 7, Mark 12, Romans 3:10-12, Jer. 17:9-10. How can you say I am “preaching that we only have to be good people to get to heaven because God is a loving God and doesn’t want anyone to go go hell?” Show me in this article where what I wrote is wrong. Hell will be full of a millions of “good people” when truly none of us are good, but all must place their trust in Jesus Christ to save them. What do you say Jane? Please show me which parts of this article are “cream and sugar?” Please.

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Claire March 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm

What r u talking about, God is perfect, meaning NO negatives.

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Claire March 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Wow, did you forget? GOD IS LOVE!! you’re really hateful in this, crazy!!!!!!!

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Jack Wellman March 16, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Claire, I have seen your many comments. Who are you responding to exactly? You said, “you’re really hateful in this…” and other such negative comments. Is there something you don’t like about the article? God is love but above all things, God is holy. No one goes to heaven who has not trusted in Jesus Christ. I have seen your many comments and you seem really, really angry. Yes, God is love but does this mean that just anyone can go to heaven?

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bob barkappotimus December 12, 2012 at 2:25 am

according to one website pets can go to heaven too!

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Jack Wellman December 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I checked out the website link you provided and the Bible is silent on whether pets go to heaven or not. Can you show me the Scriptures in the Bible that make you think that they do Bob?

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joe January 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm

If God is love, why would He create a person, allow that person to live a life of misery, suffering, hunger, abuse, never hearing the Gospel, and then condemn that person to hell for eternity? How many people throughout history have lived such lives? If that is what truly happens to one who does not profess a belief in Jesus, then I question the idea that God is love.

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Claire March 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I know, that’s why this idea is bunk, for a logical, loving & biblical explanation of hell goto Christianthinktank.com & ASK: how can a good God send to hell on journey Christian church’s site.

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Claire February 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

If no one is righteous why in Matt.5:19 does it call Joseph righteous?

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Claire March 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm

I think you need to read all of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

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Brianna May 6, 2013 at 9:16 am

(This is not really my question, but that of another person)
I had this person ask me, “How did people get to Heaven before Jesus’ birth? Everyone instantly went to Hell because Jesus wasn’t around yet?”
I’m a little stumped and I don’t want to leave this guy hanging. If you can answer my question, that would be great.

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Jack Wellman May 6, 2013 at 9:54 am

Great question Brianna. Hebrews 11, the so-called chapter of the Hall of Faith answers that it was their faith in God that saved them. People before Jesus had faith. They believed in God who dwelled in Heaven and they believed they would be there. They atoned for their sins through various sacrifices and offerings ordained by God. Those who lived after the prophets knew of a Messiah to come and they believed in the Messiah before He walked the Earth.

If people (before Jesus, during Jesus, after Jesus) believed in the One, True God and accepted everything God did for them with all of their hearts, then God had a place for them in Heaven. But only after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven himself would these people rise and take their spots. Jesus had to be first. Jesus atoned for those before, during, and after Him, providing the cleansing needed to be with God. Jesus died for everyone before and since so we could all go to Heaven and be pure enough to be with our God.

Genesis 15:6 says that “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” and in Romans 4:3 “What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Does this make sense Brianna?

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Brianna May 6, 2013 at 10:58 am

Thank you for answering. Yes, it does make sense and I’ll be sure to give the man this answer.
God bless you!

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Helen Villaruel June 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm

PRAISE GOD, Hi, i am very happy that we meet in this site, through this i can share and i can learn a lot from your inspiring message of which i can share also to my family, co-workers and friends. I have also an article about “Getting into Heaven is not about what you’ve done; it’s about what God’s done” it say’s
You have probably encountered a few people who hoped that they would get into Heaven because they have lived a good life. Indeed, there are many people in the world who think that all the right things they do will get them into Heaven. However, Paul knew that in Romans 3:10 says,
10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
Fortunately, God loved us so much that He provided an answer: in John 3:16 says
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Furthermore, 1 Peter 3:18 tells us that 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
Therefore, it is no wonder Jesus said, in John 14:16 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Notice that nothing in any of those verses refers to our ability to reach Heaven. That’s because it is impossible for us to reach Heaven on our own strength. Remember, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Therefore, our salvation must be based entirely on what God has done.
Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
The only requirement for getting into Heaven is believing in Jesus as your Savior and Lord bible says in, Romans 10:9-10
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
There is nothing that you can do to earn salvation. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. That’s because getting into Heaven is not about what you’ve done; it’s about what God’s done.
I like to know what’s your comment re this, Thank you and GOD BLESS…..

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Jack Wellman June 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Amen Helen. People do think just like all other religions in the world except for Christianity…it is do, do, do, do, but with Christ, it is simply “Done!”

I like to think of it this way….it is not our responsibility to get ourselves into heaven. It is our response to HIS ability. Make sense? I am with you in 100% agreement on your comments Helen.

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